Dog  Obedience Training.

by Dennis Fisher.

This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs



It is not natural for the dog to want to leave the handler, so its important  to find some way of persuading the dog to do so.

 In  working trials and Schutzhund the  dog is required to leave the handler and travel a considerable distance, so the inducement and the reward  has to be a powerful one. The most suitable inducement is of course  food.

The dog is always required to travel in a straight line away from the handler so it is important for the dog to  have a good idea of where it is expected to go. 

This is how you can go about teaching the dog a reliable sendaway .

Get a piece of old carpet and cut it up to a size of about one half of a meter square, so that it is clearly visible to the dog from a distance.

 Go to your training field with your dog on leash.  Leave the dog on the sit and continue walking in a straight line away from the dog for  distance of approximately 10 ft. 

At this distance the dog can see you clearly and watch  what you are doing.  Make sure  your  dog watches you as you place the carpet on the ground.

You will need food to encourage the dog to leave you on command and go to the food. Its a good idea to cut  pieces of boiled liver into small pieces and place these  small pieces in a container like a glass jar or  clear plastic dish, where the dog can see the food but is unable to open himself.

While the dog is in the sit stay position and watching you as you place the piece of carpeting on the ground , place the food container on the piece of carpeting.

Return to your dog.  Praise him as usual for not breaking his sit and then, with  the dog on leash run out towards the clearly visible piece of carpeting.

 As you reach the carpeting, give him the command down.   Immediately he goes down, open the container and give him one of the pieces of boiled liver.


Its a good idea not to give him the piece of liver by hand.  Rather open the container and let a piece of the liver spill out between his front legs while he in the down position.  Praise him very enthusiastically as you reward him with the liver. Make a big fuss of your dog and tell him what good dog he is.

It is also a good idea to use the same container every time you train your own for this exercise.

Repeat  the process of running out with the dog on leash to your marker the piece of carpet and reward him ever time in the same way, by opening the container and  allowing a small piece of his reward  to spill out. 

After he eaten his reward, give him the Sit command, praise him and walk  back with him on leash to your starting position.

Increase the distance the dog has to travel to reach the piece of carpeting by moving  back from your starting position.  Go a few feet back instead of  moving  the carpeting to a new position. 

Make sure that the piece of carpet is still clearly   visible.

Once the dog has got used to leaving you in order to get his reward of the food, and starts pulling towards the food, you can unclip the lead and let the dog out by himself. 

Once he reaches the carpet make sure that he goes down immediately you give him the command.

If he does not go down immediately, put him back on leash and take him to the carpet. Insist  that he go down as soon as you give the command.  Only reward him when he downs immediately. 

Do not reward him unless he perform the exercise correctly, but take him back to the  starting position and take him by leash again.

When the dog is performing the exercise well, you can cut the carpeting to a slightly small size, but still large enough to be visible.

At some stage  he will have to go out even if there is no piece of carpeting to guide, so  will have to start preparing him for this.  After he has performed a few sendaways successfully to the piece of carpeting, remove the carpeting and send him to the identical place where the carpeting was previously placed.  Do this once only, as a trial.  Even if he goes out successfully do not persist at this stage and become too ambitious. Finish off your training by send him out once again in the usual fashion to the piece of carpeting.

By  reducing  the size  of the carpeting  gradually , into a smaller and smaller piece  you will eventually be able to do without the piece of carpeting  completely. 

Training a dog to perform a perfect sendaway every time is  a gradual process.   Dont rush the training and dont forget to reward each time the dog performs the exercise successfully.

In the course of training you can also practice dropping the dog before he reaches the piece of carpet.  He should go down immediately you give the command.